Monday, November 28, 2016

all the good

Some recently re-potted cactuses - some are new plants and some are newly painted pots.

And some purchases from the Grey Lynn Park Festival on Saturday
  • slippers for me for next winter. They are fair trade, handmade in Mongolia from local wool. They are my favourite slippers - warm and hard-wearing. I try to get a pair each year from the festival. This time I didn't have enough cash so the seller gave me her bank account number and said I could do the transfer when I got home. How amazing that she trusted me. I felt so overwhelmed by her kindness and generosity.
  • a new cookbook for my collection, Everyday easy eats, produced by Balmoral School in Auckland. Also available here should you want a copy.
  • a little blue dog made by blind artist Juliet Jackson - a friend for the elephant I bought from her last year. 

Saturday night we went to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by our American neighbours. During the evening guests were asked to share something that they had felt grateful for during the year. The responses were heartfelt and I felt blessed to have these friends and to be living in such a peaceful country.

I'm not usually so mushy but it was quite a weekend and it reminded me of this quote by John Wesley

Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

poppies and totes

Reusable, washable supermarket bags made from cotton duck and lined for strength. I made four, two of each fabric. I'm especially fond of the fruit print. I made them small so that when they are full I can still lift and carry them easily.

I was going to write a tutorial on how to make them but there are already so many tutorials out there. Here are some of my favourites for similar bags:
with interfacing and an easy way to sew gusseted corners 
with French seams and a pocket
a simple unlined bag

And while I was at the market, I couldn't resist buying a bunch of poppies. I love their weird hairy stalks and tissue paper petals.

Reading: All at sea - biography by British journalist Decca Aitkenhead about life before and after her husband died while saving their son from drowning

Monday, November 14, 2016

lunch lady yoga

Lunch lady is an Australian quarterly made by the creators of frankie magazine and it's my favourite magazine right now. It has a parenting/family focus with a lot of fun creative ideas, recipes and great photography. That weighty looking loaf is the Feel-good banana + quinoa bread from issue #4 and it is truly delicious. It makes quite a big loaf but you can slice it up and freeze it. It toasts up really well.

And I have finally started practising yoga at home thanks to Canadian teacher Melissa West. She has free one-hour videos on youtube with beginners and intermediate classes. I started with her beginners' class 101 and I'm now working my way through the beginners series. I think it's important to find a teacher you like and Melissa is just right for me. And I feel great. I think I put off doing yoga at home because I wanted to set up a designated yoga space but, sometimes, you can't wait for things to be perfect. You just have to start.

Listening: Leon Russell and the Shelter People by Leon Russell and the Shelter People - my own tribute to Leon Russell who died on Sunday, November 13.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


A few purchases - cotton fabrics, buttons and unbleached cotton yarn - from last weekend's Fabric-a-brac. It's become an annual event here in Auckland. Anyone can buy a table to sell fabrics and other sewing items with the proceeds going to Mercy Hospice. I usually go a bit mad at Fabric-a-brac so this year I tried to shop with intent - buying only items for future planned projects.

Also (but not from Fabric-a-brac) the winter edition of Extra Curricular. I like to treat myself to this local craft magazine. I like that its small and printed on nice paper with rounded corners.

And, finally, from the Cactus and Succulent Society biennial show yesterday a succulent I've been after for a while - crassula lycopodioides (aka watch chain plant) - and a lovely hand thrown planter (potter unknown).

I've been in a little crafting rut lately and I blame it on the crochet blanket I started here. Everything was going well until it came to joining the granny squares. I decided to hand sew them together and the task expanded in my head and became a major piece of work that I procrastinated over. I didn't want to start anything new until the blanket was done. So, to move on, I've set myself a daily schedule of sewing and that seems to be working. I now have the greatest respect for crocheted blankets - the ones you find in thrift stores that have a price tag of $15. All that work and time and yarn. I have since learnt that you can weave in the yarn ends as you go and join squares as you go and that there are many ways to crochet the squares together. Maybe next time ...

Reading: 101 Reykjavik by Hallgrímur Helgason (1996) described by The Guardian as "laugh out loud funny". The protagonist is an unemployed thirty-something loser who not only lives with his mother but falls in love with her lesbian lover. I'm sticking with this book (even though its not the sort of book I like) because it's set in Iceland and it's not bad.
Listening: Aftertouch by Princess Chelsea.